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The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.

Coconut Oil for Dogs

Coconut Oil for Dogs

Coconut Oil Health Benefits for Dogs

Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts and is obtained from tropical coconut palms. It is generally sold as a solid rather than a liquid when kept at under 75 °F, just like your average lard or butter. However, unlike butter that can soon turn rancid, coconut oil can last up to 2 years—courtesy of its high levels of saturated fat, which makes it slow to oxidize.

The History Behind the Health Benefits

For thousands of years, inhabitants of the tropics have used coconut oil both for cooking and health. Pacific Islanders who used coconuts regularly were even found to be free of heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses. This oil has had a bad reputation for years, however, due to being high in saturated fat; health organizations have historically warned people about consuming it for years.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was essentially phased out due to its terrible reputation. It was then replaced by other vegetable oils that turned out to be far more harmful. Nowadays, coconut oil has made a big comeback, and demand is so high that stores cannot keep up.

Isn't It High in Saturated Fat?

So why is it good for dogs? In the 1950s, saturated fat was unjustly accused of causing high cholesterol and heart disease, when in reality, it was trans fat that was the culprit. 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat and at least 50% of this fat is lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lauric acid is the same compound found in "mother's milk" and has many disease-fighting qualities.

How much coconut oil should I give my dog?

How much coconut oil should I give my dog?

How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?

How much should I give my dog? According to veterinarian Karen Becker (featured in the video below), the dosage of coconut oil for dogs is as follows:

Offer 1 teaspoon for every 10 to 20 pounds of body weight.

Initially, you may want to start with smaller doses to see how your dog responds.

How Can It Help My Dog?

Dogs enjoy many of the same benefits humans get from this wonderful oil—this is because it works from the inside out, and can also be used topically and can be ingested. While not many studies have been formally conducted, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence from owners reporting dramatic changes in their dog's coat and overall health. Let's take a look at some of the many health benefits:

The Benefits of Giving Your Dog Coconut Oil

  • Reduces degenerative diseases
  • Helps with digestive issues
  • Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
  • Relieves arthritis
  • Promotes thyroid health
  • Neuroprotective
  • Reduces allergies
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Provides energy
  • Reduces dry skin (elbows, noses, and paw pads)
  • Reduces "doggie odors"

The Benefits of Applying Coconut Oil Topically to Your Dog

  • Promotes the healing of wounds
  • Disinfects cuts
  • Reduces benign growths, sebaceous cysts, and skin tags

Dr. Karen Becker Discusses Coconut Oil for Dogs

How to Offer It to Your Dog

Dr. Karen Becker (featured in the video above) discusses the health benefits of giving coconut oil to your dog and also suggests using it to hide pills. The good news is that most dogs love to lap it right off the spoon and will just swallow a pill along with it.

What Kind Should I Buy?

Not all coconut oil is created equal. Look for unrefined, virgin coconut oil, made from fresh coconuts and preferably stored in glass jars. Refined coconut, often labeled "RBD," is often the cheap oil you find in the skin and hair-care sections of department stores. This oil is obtained from dried coconut using chemicals and lacks all the good nutrients found in unrefined coconut.

Where Can I Find It?

Most grocery stores carry coconut oil nowadays and most products are produced in the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, Belize, Fiji, and Sri Lanka. It's not a bad idea to invest in higher-quality oil, even though it's a bit more pricey; you'll ultimately get a good return on your investment.

Coconut oil may help dogs maintain a healthy-looking coat.

Coconut oil may help dogs maintain a healthy-looking coat.

Why This Oil Is a Win-Win

According to Mercola.com, you should have two types of oil in your kitchen: extra-virgin olive oil used raw for salads and coconut oil for frying. Why? As it turns out, coconut oil is a stable oil and resists heat-induced damage, so it is great for cooking. Not to mention, it keeps your heart healthy, keeps cholesterol levels stable, and supports weight loss.

So, not only can your dog reap the benefits, but you can too and in many ways. Lastly, be sure to work with your veterinarian before adjusting your dog's health regimen as always.

For Further Reading

  • Causes of Lumps on Dog Paw Pads
    Wondering what may cause unusual lumps and bumps on a dog's paw pad? Learn possible causes for why your dog has lump on paw pad and why it's so important to see the vet.
  • Why Does Your Dog's Breath Stink? Common Causes of ...
    xandert ''Doggy breath'' is often a term used to define the typical odor deriving from the dog's oral cavity. Often, this breath may be acceptable and almost pleasant as in small puppies that are just being weaned, or the breath may be quite more...
  • How to Make a Dog's Nail Quick Recede
    When you allow Rover's nails to grow too long, the quick grows along with the nail. Be careful when you decide to trim those nails and let the quick recede. Ask your groomer of vet for help!
  • Dog Sebaceous Cysts Home Remedies
    Can your dog's sebaceous cyst be treated naturally with home remedies? Learn when it's best to try home remedies and why surgery is often the best option.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli

Comments

Evelia Veronica Rivera from Bridgeport, CT on March 24, 2014:

very interested in trying!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 28, 2013:

We give it to our dogs and we use it for cooking. The best are the organic ones that are pure and not refined.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on April 28, 2013:

I have recently become interested in the benefits of coconut oil and coconut products in general. It did not occur to me that my dogs could also benefit. Thanks for the info-very helpful. Kim

Agnes on March 30, 2013:

That's what I was thinking. Thanks again!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 30, 2013:

Many dogs love it and they'll just lick it off the spoon. If you look at the video by the vet I posted, she suggests using it to hide pills, so looks like many dogs must like. Some though add it to the food.

Agnes on March 30, 2013:

Good to know. I have coconut oil at home, but I didn't know I could give it to my dog. Do you add it to the food?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 25, 2013:

You bet wetnosedogs! At least she'll lick off something good for her-- a win-win situation!--

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 25, 2013:

Thanks for the votes up Donna! I am starting to love it too and it makes my hair soft and shiny too!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 25, 2013:

Larry, thanks for your expert input on this. It helps clarify the myth of the "Saturated fat monster" --love that name--!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on March 25, 2013:

This is most interesting and I would love to get some for putting it on (especially Bella) topically. She licks creams off when I need to put them on. If she licks the coconut oil off, it would be beneficial in her tummy, too!

Donna Cosmato from USA on March 25, 2013:

Thanks for informing folks about the many benefits of coconut oi. We use it exclusively in our baking and cooking and both our dog and cat love it. You mention using it topically for dogs but it is equally as healing for humans with dry skin problems. Great hub, voted up.

Larry Fields from Northern California on March 25, 2013:

Hi alexadry,

Thanks for putting another nail into the coffin of Politically Correct diet. Back in the day, publicity hound Ancel Keys (spelling?) promoted the myth of the Saturated Fat Monster. These days, scientifically informed people know that this particular Scare-of-the-Month-Club item is a half-truth.

The 2 most common saturated fatty acids in the typical American diet are palmitic acid and stearic acid. The former contributes to atherosclerosis, while the latter is as benign as the oleic acid in olive oil. However the two are usually found together in foods in varying proportions.

All trans fatty acids are unsaturated. And the main sources are margarine (which was falsely touted as being more healthful than butter); and shortening, which is added to a variety of 'junk' foods.

I even wrote a long, boring hub about this stuff.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 25, 2013:

Thanks for commenting and stopping by Jocent. "The Tree of Life" is a beautiful name! Thank you for your expert advice on this, I will look for the VCO oil. The coconut oil in the oil section of my local store carries only refined coconut oil:( The label proudly states it has no coconut taste. What's wrong with coconut taste? I love it and my dogs do too!

jocent on March 25, 2013:

You have high praises for the processed coconut oil and it truly makes us and our country proud of the Tree of Life. Coconut industry is one of the major export of the Philippines. Coco oil has been the topnotcher among the products but there is a new and more popular oil that is naturally processed without heat and is called "Virgin Coconut Oil" or VCO. It has a lot of positive and clinically proven curative powers. Maybe you can try this on your dog.